Friday, July 19

Chat Session with Ankur Warikoo, Co-founder & CEO, Nearbuy (formerly Groupon India)

A Serial Entrepreneur, a Consultant, a Venture Partner and a Teacher – Yes, we are talking about just one person! Ankur Warikoo, CEO and co-founder of Nearbuy.  He had a Chat session originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Post his management degree from the IndianSchool of Business, Ankur was a Management Consultant with A.T. Kearney for 3 years. He worked in Delhi, Dubai and New York during this time.

He Co-founded Accentium Web in 2007 along with 2 other batch-mates from ISB, while continuing with his role at A.T. Kearney. In 2009, he left Kearney to work on Accentium full-time. Accentium runs websites such asSecondshaadi.com, Gaadi.com, Taaza.com amongst others. After Accentium, Ankur joined Rocket Internet in 2011. As a Venture Partner, he helped setup the footprint for Rocket Investments in India such as Groupon and Jabong.

Ankur holds a management degree from the Indian School of Business (Class of 2006) where he was awarded the Young Leader Award. He also holds a Masters degree in Physics from Michigan State University and holds a bachelor’s degree from Hindu College, Delhi University.

 

Rishi Sharma: How do you plan your day and keep productivity throughout?

Ankur Warikoo: Part 1: What keeps me productive

Dishan Parekh: To be successful do you need to be really intelligent like the IITs and IIM kids? If not, what is the quality needed which can be acquired in 20’s?

Ankur Warikoo: You think?

I am not from the IITs (failed to get through – thrice!)

I am not from the IIMs.

And I would imagine I have done some right things in life to be where I am.

There are 3 things that have helped me shape me up as an individual – sharing them with you.

1. Build a mafia

Network. Connect. Continue learning.

Realize that the next set of opportunities is going to come to you from the people you know and the people you spend time with.

You are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with.

Choose these 5 wisely.

2. Time is the biggest sunk cost of life

Do not think that just because you have been doing something in the past, you have to continue doing it. Time is sunk cost – what has happened can never be gotten back and the day you realize you are not on the right path, change course. It doesn’t matter how far along have you come.

3. Do the right thing when no one is looking

The hardest thing is to do the right thing when you do not have the world staring at you. When you do not have someone watching over you.

If you are true to yourself, every single time, devoid of any supervision, you will always follow your decisions with conviction.

 

 

Alecia Li Morgan: What advice do you have for would-be Indian entrepreneurs?

 

Ankur Warikoo: Solve a problem that is truly a problem.

India is a fascinating country and a very different one. A lot of successful ideas from the US will not work here and vice versa.

Do not fool yourself into copying ideas.

And do not fool yourself in solving for every problem that you think is a problem.

Because India is about organized chaos.

A lot of what we can “inefficiencies” in the market are actually the very reason why we use it and love it.

No one hates the kiraana stores.

No one hates the restaurant delivery system.

No one hates the laundry waala in your society.

So think twice about building an app for them. You might just be moving one problem to another, without actually solving a real problem.

 

 

Alecia Li Morgan: What is it like to be embroiled in the Indian startup scene right now?

Ankur Warikoo: I have been in the Indian startup scene for 6 years now. It is the media that is embroiled in the scene. We have been just witnessing it from a distance 🙂

 

 

Aditya Karnani: Where do you see Nearbuy in next 5 years? How it will shape itself among several other competitive companies.

Ankur Warikoo:  nearbuy in 5 years should be India’s largest Local Commerce Destination.
Everything offline – whether eating out, watching a movie, travelling, spa, salon, health checkup – should have nearbuy as the first choice of reference.
We have been on this path for 4 years now. Have market leadership, though the market is still small.
And we have the onus of making it large. Which we will.

Sudeep Joshi: What were the major hurdles you faced while starting up groupon?

Ankur Warikoo: Trying to convince users that the deals are for real 🙂

Because they were so good, everyone had a “what’s the catch” face on them. Transparently solving for that and making sure we stood by the experience took a lot of effort.
And has paid off.

Jasmine Arora: Why is nearbuy so confined to deals only. Why not innovate and do something like Shopular or Shopkick does in the U.S?

Ankur Warikoo: Deals is not what we do.

Smart pricing is what we do. We alter the price of a service based on the demand for that service.

Today it is done primitatively. We see demand patterns and conclude that a restaurant has low demand on weekdays and high demand on weekends.

Tomorrow we will do this through technology. Where the price will vary dynamically based on the demand right then and there.

Call it deals or whatever. 🙂

 

 

Shubham Aggarwal: How do I score an internship/placement opportunity at NearBuy provided that I am a final year student. What would be the right way to go about it?

Ankur Warikoo: Apply to us. As simple as that. I get 25-40 internship emails a day nowadays and all are attended to.

 

 

Dharmesh Vyas: How do you deal with politics in your workplace and outside it?

 

Ankur Warikoo: Politics originates when people realize that their work alone will not make then grow.
At nearbuy, we thankfully don’t have that problem. This rarely do you come across issues that you will classify political.
And when they do come, they are instantly nipped from the bud. Zero tolerance for an environment that rests itself on manipulation.